Missouri Military Academy’s World War II re-enactment group, the Railsplitters, traveled to rural western Missouri for a weekend re-enactment of the Battle of the Bulge. LTC Tim Scherrer, Railsplitters coordinator, provided an account of the weekend’s events from both an MMA and a World War II soldier’s perspective. Click the link in the story to see more photos from the weekend.
“The Railsplitters Living History Company participated in the 2013 Battle of the Bulge recreation at Camp Clark near Nevada, MO. The event was held January 18-20 and had near perfect weather for January, although it is odd not having snow on the ground for a Battle of the Bulge recreation.
Overall the company fielded 29 troops, including two rifle squads, a scout/sniper section, and a support element. We had 13 MMA cadets and two Mexico High School JROTC cadets. One squad was lead by Illinois State Army ROTC Cadet Art Avery and the second, MMA alumnus Kyle Hughes ’12. Kyle is transferring to Marion Military Institute this summer and attending Army ROTC leader training camp, so he is pursuing a commissions as an officer too. Also attending was former MMA student Jordan Uthe.
The company did four missions. The first was a movement to contact although the enemy had already occupied the crossroads so it became a hasty attack. We were able to push the Germans off the objective quickly by using high ground with Art’s one squad and Kyle led a terrific flanking movement that pinned the Germans against a barrier. The second mission we defended a town and hilltop. We were destined to lose by the scoring system, but the company gave a good accounting of itself. Tyler Grogan ’13 as the designated marksman was able to barricade the road leading into our position through sniper fire. The third mission was to recover a downed parachute of supplies. The victor got a box of Hershey bars. We found the parachute in 17 minutes, much to the dismay of the umpires who gave the mission 90 minutes. The final missions was an attack on a bridge in which Kyle’s squad gained some key high ground which dominated the bridge, causing resistance to collapse quickly. By the end of the day, we had humped about 8 miles and were glad to be off our feet.
On Saturday night we had a visit by “‘Splitterclaus.” The Battle of the Bulge was fought during Christmas 1944. I had 84th vet Allen Howerton state he had a similar visit on Thanksgiving of 1944 from a Santa who brought him his Thanksgiving meal in Germany. We also watched two period films, Buck Privates and This is the Army. We all believe that the star of This is Army, Reagan, will never amount to much of anything but a B film actor.
Overall I was very proud of the cadets, and the company overall. We performed very well in the field and did many things that re-enacting units never do, like serve hot chow in the field. They set the standard and we received many compliments on the Railsplitters’ performance and authenticity. The only complaint I received was they weren’t very quick to take hits and die in the field…and I am OK with that.
A big thanks to MAJ Mike Shoemaker and Paul Petit, Sr. for being such a help on the trip. Cadet Hugh Harris ’15 took all the pictures and did a great job with them.
PROUD TO BE A RAILSPLITTER!”